FRV applies to build 100MW solar and battery project in South Australia

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Plans for 100MW solar farm with 50MW/100MWh battery in S.A. Clare Valley submitted to state’s planning commission for development approval.

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Aerial shot of FRV’s Moree Solar Farm. (Photo courtesy of FRV/ARENA.)
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Plans to build a 100MW solar farm with a 50MW/100MWh battery in South Australia’s Clare Valley have been submitted to the state’s planning commission for development approval, by FRV Services Australia.

The originally Spain-based FRV is proposing to build the Chaff Mill Solar Farm on two parcels of vacant farming land just outside the town of Mintaro, in the state’s Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council region.

The solar farm, which would include a 50MW/100MWh battery energy storage system, is planned for construction next to the existing Mintaro substation and its 132 kilovolt (kV) transmission line to Waterloo.

FRV says the project would generate around 250,000MWh of solar electricity a year and “make a significant contribution to South Australia’s energy production and stability of supply.”

According to application documents, around 360,000 crystalline solar panels would make up the project, mounted on single axis trackers.

The panels, once mounted, would be no taller than three metres at maximum tilt, FRV said, and would not have metal frames, so as to reduce potential glare for neighbouring properties.

“The make and model of solar panel will not be decided until the period leading up to construction as prices can fluctuate significantly across suppliers over time,” the application said.

The company also claims the solar farm would create economic benefits to the local region, including the creation of up to 200 jobs during construction and around five ongoing full-time equivalent roles during operation.

The newly proposed project is just the latest for the Australian arm of FRV – or Fotowatio Renewable Ventures – which has been building solar farms around the country since entering its first ever reverse auction, held by the ACT government in 2012.

The result of FRV’s winning bid was the 20MW solar farm at Royalla, 23km south of the Canberra CBD, which at the time was the largest in Australia, and also set a new benchmark for prices.

More recently, FRV – which is now part of the Saudi-based corporation Abdul Latif Jameel – secured finance for the 67.8MW Goonumbla solar farm in New South Wales, one of eight wind and solar projects to come out of the landmark deal for cheap and “firmed” renewables for government-owned retailer Snowy Hydro.

The Chaff Mill Solar Farm, if approved, would join an impressive pipeline of solar and storage projects planned for South Australia, that are expected to meet the state Liberal government’s target of net 100 per cent renewables “in a canter,” as federal energy minister Angus Taylor might say, and well before the advertised date of 2030.

This pipeline includes Sanjeev Gupta’s 280MW solar farm, 100MW battery and proposed pumped hydro facility in and around Whyalla, and at least three other pumped hydro projects that are competing for funds from ARENA and/or the federal government’s Underwriting New Generation Investment program. Elsewhere, Nexif is looking at doubling the capacity of the Lincoln Gap wind farm near Port Augusta.

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